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Although giving birth in an art gallery in front of an audience might seem rather disconnected and exposed, Marni has been connecting with her future audience as they visit the gallery and chat with her:
About 20 people a day stop by to talk to Marni or see the free exhibit, which opened on October 8. Visitors can leave contact information if they want to return for the birth.And just a few minutes ago, a notice came into my Google Reader: Kotak gave birth yesterday morning in her gallery to a baby boy. She will be adding a video of the birth to her installation.
Marni said her audience 'won't be total strangers.' She said those who spend time talking to her about motherhood, birth and art and learning about the project will be notified when she goes into labor. If she's home at the time, she will go to the gallery.
'I'm developing an authentic relationship with these people,' she said. 'For me, it's like building a community of people who are really interested in this.'...
Jill McDermid, a curator and co-director of the performance art Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn, called Marni's work 'daring, challenging and honest.' She said people shouldn't be shocked.
'The audience is very limited. Marni views them as people she can trust, who are interested in her work and in her,' Ms McDermid said.
Although my first reaction to the news of Kotak's performance art made me pause, I've been thinking about how it's not so much different from webcasting births (such as Dr. Nancy Salgueiro's recent livecast) or sharing birth videos on YouTube. I personally prefer to place a temporal break between giving birth and sharing the videos. I'm a really private laborer, but having a camera hasn't intruded on that privacy because I had control over when/if to share the footage.